The Sharp Aquos LC-50N5000U HD TV is more than just a pretty face. The HD TV (1080p) delivers a pleasing picture for its sub-$450 price, a respectable array of connections, and basic smart-TV functions
Like other bargain sets, the 50-inch Aquos LC-50N5000U doesn’t support 4K/ultra-HD or HDR. However, it’s excellent performance with Blu-ray discs and HD broadcasts will please most people thanks to the LCD TV’s full-array LED backlight.
Sharp TV brand in the U.S. is owned by Chinese manufacturer Hisense. That means that this 50-inch LCD HD TV is comparable in many ways to the Hisense 50H5C. The Sharp TV’s superior design, sound levels and subtly tweaked picture set it just above the Hisense TV..
The Aquos LC-50N5000U looks anything but cheap with it’s stunning brushed silver chassis. The display sits on legs situated on both ends of the set for stable tabletop positioning instead of a pedestal.
In this class of sub-$500 TVs, the Aquos LC-50N5000U also has a reasonable set of connections. There are three HDMI ports for anything from a cable/satellite box to game consoles and disc players. It also has built-in Wi-Fi for making an easy online connection.
The Sharp Aquos set comes with six different video preset modes, including Vivid, Standard, Energy Saving, Game, Sport and Theater. The most accurate mode was the Theater setting. In our TV benchmarks, the Sharp set was cool, drifting toward overemphasizing the blues rather than the reds.
Against the comparable Hisense 50H5C set, there were some perceptible differences in picture performance. Compared to the larger 55-inch budget models — the LG 55LH5750 and the Vizio E55-D0 — the Sharp Aquos LC-50N5000U sat somewhere in between the two. It used softer transitions than the contrast-heavy Vizio, yet looked cooler than the warmer, more reddish LG set.
Best of all, the Sharp Aquos LC-50N5000U did an excellent job with difficult scenes that included flashing lights and rapid action. During the action sequences testing in movies, there were no sudden dropouts or any excessive blurring.
The Sharp LC-50N5000U delivered respectable volume levels. Loud enough to fill most living rooms before the built-in speakers began to distort. The TV includes several preset audio modes, including Standard (which sounded flat), a late-night listening mode that muted the lower bass, and a speech mode designed to focus on dialogue (which was only partially successful).
The best modes for TV and movie watching were the Theater and Music settings, which were very similar. Both attempt to boost the apparent dynamic range of songs and soundtracks, but the top end is compressed, particularly on female vocals that lacked treble. While the focus of the sound here is mid-range, it is better than most found in this price range.
The smart-TV features of the Sharp Aquos are basic at best. The monochromatic menus lead to an apps section with larger, more colorful icons. Apps include Pandora, Twitter, Facebook and the Opera web browser. Support for popular services such as Amazon Video, Netflix and YouTube is available.
In total, the Sharp Aquos LC-50N5000U supports only 22 apps, which is a pretty dismal selection compared with those offered by other smart TVs. There’s no HBO Go or Showtime apps, for example. However, you can get all that and more by adding a $40 Roku device.
Although it lacks 4K and HDR support, the Sharp Aquos LC-50N5000U’s overall features and picture performance make it a good choice for playing standard DVDs and Blu-ray discs. It would also make for an ideal second set for the den or home office.